Grim Compact

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Overview

The Grim Compact, or simply the Compact, is a feudal organization of Unathi pirates frequently based in the Kaziti star system. They follow the Star Code, which is an ad hoc code of honor for Unathi pirates. Their primary headquarters is the Malefaction space station, a converted former space prison. It orbits the small moon of Ha’zana, which is a habitable planet with a population of around one hundred thousand. The Compact is a diarchy, which means it is ruled by two Pirate Lords. The current rulers are the Dread-Lord Tizma, and Dread-Lady Yizilna. These two have a complicated relationship, frequently shifting between passionate lovers and merciless, cutthroat enemies in a rivalry that is a constant source of drama within the group.

The Grim Fleets and Malefaction

Tizma’s Doom-Sails

Commanded by Tizma Aihagi, the Doom-Sails are a fleet of battle-hardened warships with an infamous reputation for speed and tenacity. With over sixty corvettes and its flagship cruiser Augury, it lacks the heavy hitting firepower of most fleets but makes up for it with sustained, relentless pressure on an enemy. The Doom-Sails are also nearly impossible to escape in a chase; their hunting tactics on their targets are similar to the hunting strategy of ancient Sinta, herding their prey right into the jaws of a trap.

The Doom-Sailors do not typically enjoy boarding ships, and much prefer engaging in protection rackets with dramatic displays from their ships, like firing shots across the bow, or unfurling their decorative solar sails in a power display. In boarding actions Doom-Sailors tend to use a mixture of ranged and melee weapons. It is a tradition that if any ship warrants being boarded, that the enemy Captain must be taken prisoner even if all of the other crew are released, and kept as a hostage until an enormous ransom is paid.

It’s members tend to be eager and ambitious, always willing to prove themselves. They are also typically seen as arrogant and boastful. This tends to annoy other Unathi because of the common refrain Doom-Sailors show in actually fighting in frequent battle, giving them the negative reputation of being bookish and impish.

Yizilna’s Steel-Spirits

Commanded by Yizilna Mo’hi, the Steel-Spirits are a fleet known for exceptional brutality and aggression. With fifty corvettes, two cruisers, and its flagship cruiser Kismet, it has significant firepower. The primary strategy of the Steel-Spirit fleet is constant, high intensity close quarters battle. The Steel-Spirits, unlike the Doom-Sails, loathe running typical protection rackets. Any ship that ends up being targeted by the Steel-Spirits will end up being rammed at least once, even at low speeds, if only because of the incredible boredom of the pirates with the whole affair. During protection rackets on civilian ships the Steel-Spirits typically like to goad their victims into trying to fight back, taunting them or demanding ridiculous sums of money or loot under threat of opening fire if refused, before suddenly demanding a reasonable sum again.

In battle the Steel-Spirits excel. Every member is drilled in close quarters combat, using a mixture of ranged and steel melee weapons. They tend to fight in tight formations, utilizing overlapping energy shields and using their free arm to empty their ranged weapons against their enemy, before, in formation, using a high speed charge to close the distance and engage in melee.

While they show mercy as required by the Star Code, Steel-Spirits have an open and vocal contempt for anyone that would surrender to them after starting a fight. They prefer their victims to either fight to the death or surrender immediately.

Its members tend to be hot headed and unpredictable, always willing to accept a challenge. They typically show solid discipline when on duty but get compared to wild Threshbeasts when docked on shore leave. Every Steel-Spirit must be able to hold their butanol, hold themselves in a fight, and hold to the Star Code. Usually all three at the same time.

The Malefaction

Equipped with a bluespace drive ripped off a captured cruiser in the past, the Malefaction is capable of bluespace jumping away from danger, even if it cannot fine tune itself as it lacks traditional engines. When settled down, it quickly becomes a free haven and headquarters for the Grim Compact. Its former use as a space prison translates into its segmented design, with the former cells in the sublevel - now with regular doors installed - being used as small residencies for its crew or even motel rooms for visitors. The higher ranking members of the Compact have access to the nicer facilities in the main level. The upper level is the Promenade; a collection of makeshift shops and bars that cater to the unsavory elements that call this place home or a quick stop. An ad hoc justice system is set up, with Doom-Sailors or Steel-Spirits policing themselves and any visitors. While nearly anything goes, “Being Like A Guwan” (otherwise known as ‘disturbing the peace’ in more civilized sectors) can have you thrown into one of the more traditional cells in the forgotten portions of the sublevel.

The Lovers’ Rivalry

While Yizilna and Tizma jointly rule the Compact through intimidation, fear, and the Star Code, their rule is anything but stable. As a woman, Yizilna being in such a high position is offensive to the sensibilities of Unathi outside of her fanatical followers in the Steel-Spirits. A large portion of why she remains in power is that she has yet to lose in single combat, and has suffered no major defeats with her fleet. Riding on nothing but victories, Yizilna retains her power and influence. Tizma is famously deeply in love with his co-ruler, attracted by such a powerful woman. But he also struggles with a deep resentment that a woman could accomplish as much as or more than he has.

After Yizilna has any great victories or particularly lucrative rackets or raids, Tizma flies into an envious rage. At this time the two typically start having brutal brawls - if these fights start in public they often spill out from room to room, with everyone around too terrified of them to intervene. These fights use swords or spears, and the two do not hesitate in their attacks, but any lethality is made difficult by their roughly evenly matched abilities. After they tire each other out, they tend to separate and engage in fierce competitions. These times of competition are called Great Spats.

During a Great Spat, the two fleets engage in more and more reckless and daring actions, even skirting up against contemporary fleets of the more civilized nations. Great Spats tend to last for a month or more at a time, and even the Doom-Sailors and Steel-Spirits are possessed by an unusual fanaticism. They typically end when the two tire of the rivalry and set aside their differences, returning to each other’s embrace until the next time Tizma’s envy overtakes him.

For her part, Yizilna has said that she enjoys finally finding a man who does not bore her; but she resents his domineering demands that she be less successful than he is. This jealousy that he wants to take away her accomplishments leads to her spitefully going out to achieve even more, fueling Tizma’s envy.

Ha’zana

Also known as the Grim Protectorate of Ha'zana by the Compact, the inhabitants are primarily based within four small towns on either side of two of the three primary islands. The planet was originally settled in December of 2412 by human frontiersmen, but the population rapidly skyrocketed from around ten thousand to a hundred thousand from 2437 to 2460, from Unathi refugees escaping the Contact War. This refugee crisis lead to tensions within the otherwise small Republic, but also a massive boon to its productivity and growth.

Each town on Ha'zana has its own town council, but all are subordinate to the Dread-Lords who allow them relative autonomy.

Ko'ko Reed

The economy of Ha'zana is dominated by the cultivation of the Koko Reed. This tall, green, grass-like plant grows up to 7 feet tall. In the past it thrived in the wet marshlands outside Iz'iz, having evolved to take nutrients from the otherwise toxic byproducts of the algae-contaminated waters. It was discovered by the Unathi colonists that the stalk can be chewed to induce a soothing sense of warmth and comfort, but only to Unathi due to its unique interactions with Unathi physiology. Other species simply taste a sweet, stringy reed.

Cultivation of the Koko Reed began immediately, with enterprising guildsmen of the human-Unathi Mark and O'kamazi Koko Guild aggressively exterminating the wild Koko population to ensure they maintained a monopoly on its production. With genetic modification, they were successful in ensuring that all instances of domestic Koko Reeds are sterile and unable to flower and produce seeds unless treated under extremely specific circumstances. Their guild soon became the primary source of employment on the small moon, with the Unathi and human inhabitants working in the Koko plantations, or the many small industries that create the Koko Bar that has become popular with Unathi.

When the planet was invaded and occupied by the Grim Compact, they left Ha'zana to mostly govern itself with the exception of the M&O Guild. Dread-Lord Tizma granted the guild a Charter that allowed them to sell their product to the wider galaxy for a sizable cut of the revenue., mimicking Hegemonic mercantalism Now only he and a select few would have knowledge of how to produce fertile Koko reeds. Trying to smuggle out knowledge of the Reeds' propogation can cost you a hand; being caught smuggling fertile seeds is grounds for a beheading.

Because of the relatively high humidity, Unathi colonists must take care to ensure their hide and scales are clean or they will develop an extremely embarrassing Scale Rash.

Geography

Some time in the geological past, Ha'zana's fresh water ocean was overtaken by a massive algae bloom that overtook the entire world, triggering a mass extinction and leaving the water toxic. The four primary large towns on the moon's surface rely on water treatment that provide potable water that is pumped into reservoirs beneath the towns.

Most inland plant life is dominated by the thick, alien jungles that have evolved to thrive on the toxic rains. It rains at least four times a week in constant showers, and severe storms lash across the planet at least once a month. While not acidic, the rain water of Ha'zana is not safe to drink.

It takes 12 days and 21 hours for Ha'zana to complete an orbit of its parent gas giant. The locals celebrate this Lunar Solstice with a festival encouraging strangers to give each other gifts.

The parent gas giant takes 444 days to orbit the star Kaziti. Like Moghes, the Grim Compact has divided the year into the three seasons of Versakh, Kasavakh, and Travakh.

Feudalism In The Compact

All members of the Compact live under a feudal hierarchy, with obligations and expectations to those below and above those in the hierarchy. They are divided between Dread Ones, who make up the nobility, and the Grim Ones, who make up the non-nobility.

Feudalism in the Compact mimics the feudal structure of the Hegemony.

Dread-Lords are the co-monarchs of the Compact. They are best compared to the Overlords of the Hegemony. They are responsible for providing for Dread-Admirals of their Armada's and dividing loot between them, as well as the appointment or removal of Dread-Admirals. In turn, Dread-Admirals provide their service and abilities to the Dread-Lords, fighting in their name.

Dread-Admirals lead groups of ships within the wider Armada, typically eight to fifteen. They are best compared to Lords of the Hegemony. They are granted special protections and privileges by the Dread-Lords. They receive the second highest amount of loot, and have considerable power in the Compact’s ad hoc legal system.

Dread-Pirate lead their individual ships like a fiefdom, where Dread-Admirals are responsible for the wider fleet. Dread-Pirates are best thought of a mixture of a Captain and feudal Count. Members of each individual ship owe their loyalty to their Dread-Pirate. It is their responsibility to divide the loot fairly between their crew, and treat their crew honorably and fairly. Dread-Pirates provide their service to Dread-Admirals in exchange for special privileges and legal protections.

Holymen are priests or shamans of the major faiths. They are given special privileges and protections by the nobility, and are allowed to freely roam the Compact to provide spiritual services. Harming or stealing from a Holyman is strictly forbidden, and anyone that accosts a shaman or priest can quickly find a finger removed quickly and cleanly by order of a Dreaded.

Grim-Warriors are pirates that distinguish themselves in battle under their Dread-Pirate. They are well respected by other Crewmen. They are expected to provide martial service to their Dread-Pirate, and in turn are expected to be paid regularly and receive sizable loot. They are exempt from menial labor, as their Dread-Pirate is expected to provide for them.

Grim-Crew are the common pirates that keep things running. Gunners, technicians, guards, medics - all working under their respective Dread-Pirate. More menial jobs tend to rotate on a chore wheel, or are performed by hostages.

Guwan are the absolute bottom of the Compact. They find little relief here compared to the Hegemony. They have zero protections and are persecuted or chased out of the Compact entirely. What Guwan that remain are often used as little more than menial servants, performing degrading duties such as custodial work or mining resource deposits that a Dread-Pirate would enjoy having without having to ask any of their men to perform the act of physically mining it.

Relationship with the Hegemony

The Grim Compact is a tributary of the Hegemony. This means that while they are technically a vassal, they are mostly autonomous save for monthly tribute sent directly to the Izweski.

The Compact holds a tenuous alliance with the Sk'akh Church. This alliance stands for as long as the Compact can say it is following the Star Code. Part of the deal has also forced the Compact to cease all of its pirate attacks on the Izweski Hegemony, focusing instead on the rest of the galaxy.

The nobility of the Hegemony, predominately Sk'akh, are mixed in their views on the Compact. Roughly half have sided with the Church and are content with Unzi's clemency, swayed by the arguments that the Compact has been redeemed. The other half are highly critical, and are offended that such a dishonorable faction is allowed to run unimpeded.

The common Sinta'Unathi carries a similar divide in how they view this state of affairs.

Relationship with Dominia

Kazhkz Me About It

History

The history prior to the founding of the actual compact can be explored in detail through the personalities of Tizma Aihagi and Yizilna Mo’hi on the Notable Unathi page.

The Compact was officially founded in 2458 when Tizma met with Yizilna. Originally intended to be a meeting about partitioning territory between them, it had the unpredictable result of having the two join forces. Immediately they began to consolidate their power and formalize the hierarchy of the Compact. Their fleets, combined in strength, rolled through trade routes of the Frontier as the two continued to look for a suitable base of operations.

It was in 2459 that they attacked the Kaziti system, decisively defeating the small, rag-tag militia of the unremarkable Republic of Kaziti, which was based on the small moon of Ha'zana orbiting its mother gas giant Kwinla. The moon itself was home to tens of thousands of humans and a smaller population of Unathi. They were allowed to continue to exist for as long as they paid annual tribute of food and raw materials to the Compact. The Malefaction was moved in orbit of Ha'zana.

The first Great Spat occured in 2460, and set the precedent for the violatile relationship between the two Dread-Lords of the Compact. After throwing Tizma into an envious rage, Yizilna took her entire armada into a combined force and goaded a Frontier Alliance fleet twice her size into battle. Luring the enemy fleet into a thick asteroid field, large radio jammers that had been installed were activated and jammed all communications at the moment the battle commenced. Despite the efforts of electronic counter-measures and destroying the jammers when found, the confusion within the Frontier fleet was considerable. The Steel-Spirits had also been evading them for the entire chase, engaging only in minor skirmish actions. Now they had doubled in numbers, ramming ships and firing with a wanton abandon. The shock of the Compact counter-attack combined with patchy communications sent confusion and panic through the fleet. A few corvettes that fled the battle and communicated their retreat was misinterpreted as an actual order from the Admiral, and the entire Frontier fleet began to rapidly flee or melt. The actual damage and loss of life was minimal, with only damaged vessels and less than a hundred dead on the Frontier Alliance side, with two dozen who perished from the Compact. Despite not winning any loot, the Battle of Yivari Prime became the most influential part of Yizilna's career, putting her on the map as having won so easily against such overwhelming odds.

On October 8th, 2456, Yizilna and Tizma intercepted the shuttle of High Priest Unzi in a dramatic seizure of his ship. Instead of seizing him, they made a radical proposal. High Priest Unzi asserted the right of the Church to grant clemency to criminals, forgiving the two Dread-Lords for their crimes in an open snub to Not'zar Izweski. In exchange, the Grim-Compact has made regular financial tribute to the Sk'akh based churches within their territory. This frustrated plans by the Lord-Regent and his admirals to assemble an armada intended to attack the Compact.

Asserting his own authority, Not'zar Izweski on October 15th, 2456 Not'zar Izweski anointed Tizma Overlord-Tributary of Ha'zana, having him as a vassal with lessor responsibilities in exchange for monthly tribute. He had hoped that this might spur a feud between Yizilna and Tizma, but this did not materialize; Tizma continues to refuse to be referred to as Overlord-Tributary, instead referring to himself as Dread-Lord of the Grim Compact.

Not'zar then granted a charter to the M&O Guild that grants them a monopoly on the Koko trade within the Hegemony. This charter also grants them the right to sell their products to the rest of the galaxy. This challenges both the authority of the Dread-Lords and Unzi in a complicated and constantly shifting balance of power between the three groups, who all want the immense financial benefits of the Koko trade from Haz'ana.

Potential Character Concepts

Here is an example character from the Grim Compact:

Aztari Muzgan, 34, is a former Doom-Sailor that is now a cargo technician on the NSS Aurora. He gets his work done diligently, but he has a patronizing attitude towards female co-workers.

  • Aztari is 6’2” with a slightly lithe build. Despite his build he is well toned. He is about 250 pounds; average for a Unathi male. He has yellow eyes, frills, and a long, forked tongue. He has good posture and moves with confidence and a swagger to his step.
  • Aztari used to be a Grim-Crew onboard the Grim Compact corvette A Fearless Warrior’s Honor, a former yatch converted into a warship. He was typically a loader for one of the mass drivers which was in a room too small to fit an autoloader.
  • He lives in a small apartment on the Odin, and the entire place is trashed. Empty bottles and clothes are strewn around the apartment, as he adamantly refuses to do women’s work. He stubbornly lets laundry and trash pile up until it reaches critical mass, and he makes an entire affair out of secretly taking out the trash and taking his clothes to the laundromat extremely late at night, taking low-populated routes, so that as few people as possible see him.
  • Aztari is Th’akh and strongly believes in his faith, but insists that his life as a pirate is not incompatible with the teachings of the shamans. He will express regret for actions he feels are wrong when talking to a shaman, but as a whole he is unapologetic.
  • He finds Tau Ceti to have potential to be great if it would just chill out with all of its rules and bureaucracy designed to protect red tape and feelings. He finds humans to be incredibly boring and uncreative. He despises the Izweski because his Clan were traditionalists that were chased out of their homeland and scattered across Moghes and space. He is tolerant but patronizing to the other faiths since he was exposed to them all, but finds Aut’akh profoundly unsettling.
  • He speaks Sinta’azibaba and Tau Ceti Basic.

Here is a second example character from the Grim Compact:

  • Kekaza Zun’ha, 47, is a former Steel-Spirit that now works as an Engineer on the NSS Aurora. He throws himself into his work, but he is in a constant state of being buzzed with butanol.
  • Zun’ha is 6’3” with a green hide. He has a broad body and well defined muscles and weighs 275 pounds. In general, he is built like a tank. He has blue eyes, horns, and a long, forked tongue. He moves with a proud, straight posture. He is missing the index finger on his right hand, and he always loves telling the story about the sword fight that got it chopped off, emphasizing that he won the fight.
  • Zun’ha used to be a Grim-crew on the cruiser Pushing Aside Fear Brings Victory, where he was an engineer. The Cruiser saw frequent battle, so he gained regular experience, as well as occasionally fighting a hostile boarding party that stumbled on him at a repair site.
  • He has a small apartment in Phoenixport, on Biesel, that he shares with another former Steel-Spirit; a former Grim-crew maintenance technician. Both of them begrudgingly keep the place clean by dividing chores up, but Zun’ha has drawn the line at ever doing dishes. They have a kitten that Zun’ha adopted after seeing it as a stray fight and kill a rat as big as it was while in the alley beside his apartment building. He admired the bravery from something so small and brought it in.
  • Zun’ha was raised as Sk’akh but converted to Si’akh after his time in the Wasteland convinced him of the innate evil that had overtaken Sinta, and he was radicalized after hearing a sermon by Juzida. He does his best to follow the tenants and the example Juzida has set for him, but he has never managed to defeat his need to drink. The only time Zun’ha lets his guard down is when he discusses his faith; if more drunk than usual he can break down into tears lamenting the knowledge that he’s doomed to reincarnate for being too weak to overcome his sins in this life, and hoping he’ll do better in the next. After sobering up, he will deny any knowledge of having had the break down.
  • He finds Tau Ceti to be a frustrating place. He resents the reckless abandon and hedonism shown by humanity because it is a source of constant temptation. He has made a begrudging peace with Izweski Unathi, trying to bury his anger, knowing that all Sinta are damned equally.
  • He speaks Sinta’azibaba, Tau Ceti Basic, and Sign Language.